Conferences are really fun things when you’re there with good friends, but they can also produce very awkward moments, which I suppose is the natural byproduct of bringing together a couple of thousand strongly opinionated professors who don’t really know each other very well. That’s my experience at least, which may be different in 20 years when I actually know some people, but for now it’s definitely the case that the majority of conversations I have with people this week will be filled with awkward pauses followed by attempts to exit the conversation without too much notice.
It’s all different, of course, when the evening comes around and everyone leaves the conference to hang out and live it up with the people that they know and like. Such was the case tonight, after hearing papers and meeting people and struggling to make conversation with strangers, dinnertime finally came around, and with it, the chance to hang out with some cool guys from Truett Seminary. One of the guys had a car, so we went for a drive around downtown Atlanta to see the sites: the world of Coca-Cola, the Olympic park, aquarium, and CNN headquarters. We ate Cuban food, which was an interesting but very satisfying experience… don’t ask me what I ate; I don’t know. All I can say is that the folks at Papi’s Cuban Grill know how to stack piles of yummy, happy-making food before you, and before it’s all over, you’ll realize that the fried plantain is what’s been missing all your life.
After a great meal, the three of us felt emboldened to crash a dessert reception for alumni and friends of a certain Southern Baptist Seminary… we ate cookies and mingled with the crowd, and I even ended up winning a few books by sitting in one of the lucky chairs around the room!
I have three more days to charm my way into the hearts of those who will ultimately be judging my scholarly work and determining my future employment. We’ll see how it goes… if you know me, you know what a sight it is to behold when the intensity of Collin’s WOO is unleashed on a room full of strangers.